Sunday, 5 January 2014

Midnight in the Gulf. A British politician's nightmare?

Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, recently transited Dubai on his way home from a conference overseas.

Unfortunately he and his entourage were almost certainly whisked off the aircraft , away from the crowds, and straight into the VVIP lounge, to await their onward flight in opulent isolation.

Like many politicians and even leading business people who travel the world but see and feel  nothing, they would have benefitted enormously from having instead sat in one of the coffee shops in the impressive, no expense spared glitzy main body of the building and surveyed the scenes around them. They would have found it a lot more interesting than the sterilised world of the lounge. While stirring their lattes they would have found that, even in the middle of the night, they were looking out at an endless stream of the world's population from its business people and professionals, holidaymakers to its contract workers of all descriptions criss-crossing the terminal and the world between flights north, south, east and west. Rich, poor, genders, occupations, nationalities, colours, religions. They are all there with a multitude of purposes. They have come from somewhere but need or want to be somewhere else, to find a job, make money,support or build better futures for their families, go on holiday, attend a family or business gathering, or just go home. Some are elated, some sad, some fresh and ready to go, others tired from long hours already spent en route .The dynamics of the world are on view as people stream and swirl around the terminals, escalators, shops, cafes,information desks. Around it all is energy, determination and a sense of purpose. And it's midnight or later.

Just lifting their eyes to the 24/7/365 departure boards would have been an education for the party too. Flights leaving all day and all night in a steady stream. Lists of destinations unknown to even Europe's busiest airports. The penny/cent might have dropped. You can go from almost anywhere in the world to almost anywhere else with just the one stop and a minimum of hassle via Dubai or increasingly its near neighbours, Abu Dhabi and Doha. And overtaking on the inside track there is fast growing Istanbul now the gateway to more international destinations than any other airport in the world.

Having taken this all in, Mr Hague and party might not have slept so well on the onward flight to London, timed of course so as not to get there during the night curfew. Had they dropped off , nightmares about interminable planning processes, everlasting environmental objections and debates including concerns about bats, newts, anything other than the human need to do business and to travel, all leading to unlikely-to-ever-to-be built 3rd runways at the world's former greatest international hub might have woken them up screaming in frustration and in a cold sweat. But then they might not. The civil servants in particular might have been breathing sighs of relief that nothing was likely to happen in their lifetime. To many of them that's what a successful career looks like.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.